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Liesbeth De Ceulaer’s feature-length documentary film Behind the Redwood Curtain has won the Jury Award for Best Belgian Documentary at the 9th edition of the International Documentary Festival Docville (3-11 May). The film received its world premiere at the fest.
Behind the Redwood Curtain takes its viewers on a journey through the dark and eerie Redwood forest. Following seven forest dwellers - loggers, scientists, activists and Native Americans – their part of these impressive woods are discovered. There are no Walmarts and Starbucks here, just small towns and big trees. The ancient Redwoods have always kept the region isolated but now that excessive logging is encroaching, the survival of this unique habitat is under threat.
Bram Conjaerts has won the Award for Best Mid-Length Documentary for The Circle at the Hot Docs film festival in Toronto (25 April-5 May). The award is accompanied by a cash prize of 3,000 Canadian Dollars. Besides Amsterdam’s IDFA, Hot Docs is one of the most pristine documentary festivals in the world.
The Circle received its world premiere at this year’s Hot Docs in the International Spectrum section of the fest, which presented a total of 25 documentary films. For his subject the director went to Geneva and surroundings where researchers of CERN, the European organization qualified for nuclear research, have been investigating the origin of mater for years now. Scientists therefore built the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) some 100 meters below ground, the most powerful scientific instrument with a length of 27 kilometres. In The Circle Conjaerts tracks the ring of the LHC above ground in an existential quest for inhabitants with their own opinion on the scientific experiment.
Gerard-Jan Claes and Olivia Rochette’s documentary Rain will have its US premiere in the documentary competition of LA Film Fest (13 – 23 June 2013). Peter Brosens and Jessica Woodworth’s feature film The Fifth Season has been selected for the International Showcase in LA while the award-winning animated short film Oh Willy… by Emma de Swaef and Marc James Roels was confirmed for the short film program.
On 25 May 2011 the world renowned Ballet de l’Opéra National de Paris presented 'Rain', its first ever performance of Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker. Directors Olivia Rochette and Gerard-Jan Claes followed the rehearsal process from the auditions to the opening performance.
Bram Conjaerts’ The Circle and Goudougoudou by Pieter Van Eecke and Fabrizio Scapin have been selected for the Doxa Documentary Film Festival in Vancouver (3-12 May). The Circle has also recently received an invitation for Hot Docs, where it will screen end of April.
The Circle revolves around the Large Hadron Collider, a gigantic scientific instrument near Geneva, where it spans the border between Switzerland and France, about 100m underground. A 27km long particle accelerator, it is used by physicists to study the origin of everything. The results and interpretation of the collisions of particles should revolutionise the understanding of the universe and how it began. In his documentary, Conjaerts leaves the scientific aspect of the experiment and follows the 27km circle above the ground in an existential search for local people with an opinion on what’s happening below.
Sien Versteyhe’s JUNIOR and Bram Conjaert’s VAF Wildcard film The Circle have been selected for the 20th edition of Hot Docs, the Canadian International Documentary Festival (25 April-5 May). Both medium-length films are screening in the fest’s International Spectrum category, making them eligible for the Award for Best Mid-Length Documentary, as well as the Audience Award. The Only Son, a minor co-production with Flanders, is selected for the World Showcase section. Along with IDFA, Hot Docs is one of the world’s foremost documentary film festivals.
JUNIOR is premiering internationally at Hot Docs after a work-in-progress of the film had screened at the Belgian Docville fest, receiving a Special Mention from the International Jury. Bram Conjaerts’ The Circle was also added to the fest’s Official Selection and is to receive its world premiere in Toronto.
Felix van Groeningen’s The Broken Circle Breakdown and Janet van den Brand’s short Rosa, Anna’s Lil’ Sis have been selected for the Berlin international Film Festival (7-17 February). Both films will premiere internationally in the fest’s Panorama Specials strand and Generation Kplus shorts competition respectively. Two co-productions were also confirmed: Flemish director Vincent Bal’s Nono, the Zigzag Kid, which will open the Generation programme, and Willemiek Kluijfhout’s Mussels in Love. Recent features such as Peter Monsaert's Offline and Gert Embrechts' Allez, Eddy! make their market debuts at the Berlinale's European Film Market (EFM). Other EFM entries are The Fifth Season by Peter Brosens and Jessica Woodworth, as well as co-productionsTenderness by Marion Hänsel, Kinshasa Kids by Marc-Henri Wajnberg, Pinocchio by Enzo d'Alo and Tango Libre by Frédéric Fonteyne.
The Broken Circle Breakdown is represented internationally by The Match Factory. The film is already a box office hit in its home territory with over 320,000 admissions (and still going strong).The Broken Circle Breakdown is produced by Dirk Impens for Menuet (Turquaze, The Misfortunates) and stars Veerle Baetens and Johan Heldenbergh. In honour of the Panorama Specials selection, Flanders Image is also publishing a special 'Talent Matters' section entirely dedicated to van Groeningen's work.
Jeroen Van der Stock’s Silent Visitors won Best Film at the 12th L'iselp Festival of Films on Art in Brussels. The Award comes with a cash prize of € 1,750. The film had its premiere end of last year at CPH:DOX in Denmark and went on to screen at the Jean Rouch International Film Festival in France.
In Silent Visitors a number of people are portrayed for whom Japanese abandoned sites have become an essential part of their lives. Ayumi, Doitehu and Mike all share the same passion for haikyo. Their visits of these contemporary ruins reveal some parts of their unique personalities and at the same time shine a subdued light on post-tsunami Japanese society.
Lotte Stoops’ feature documentary, Grande Hotel, has won the Jury Award at the fifth This Human World Film Festival in Vienna (29 November – 9 December). With the Jury Award, the most important prize of the fest, Grande Hotel is assured of an Austrian release and an official screening in the Swiss city of Bern.
Grande Hotel had its world premiere last year at the International Film Festival of Rotterdam and went on to fests such as Hot Docs in Toronto, where it received an Honourable Mention, and the Margaret Mead fest in NY. At the start of 2012, director Stoops also won France Télévision’s Michel Mitrani Award at the 25th Festival International des Programmes Audiovisuels (FIPA) in Biarritz.
Marie-France Collard’s Brussels-Kigali and Kristof Bilsen’s White Elephant won the Mario Ruspoli Award and the Nanook-Jean Rouch Grand Prize respectively at the Jean Rouch International Ethnographic Film Festival in paris (10 – 28 Nov). Brussels-Kigali was also selected by the National Commission « Images en Bibliothèques » for distribution in the French public libraries network.
The Nanook-Jean Rouch Grand Prize for White Elephant is worth € 1,500 granted by CNRS Images. White Elephant focuses on the Central Post Office and its employees in Kinshasa, DR Congo. This grandiose relic of the colonial past has trapped its employees in a frozen time-warp from which they are planning their escape. From past to present, through the cracks in the walls, and leaks in the ceilings, we glimpse present-day Congo. The documentary is a production of Bram Crols from Associate Directors.
It’s a long and intriguing journey from a mental asylum in Germany after the First World War to the New Mexico desert at the time J. Robert Oppenheimer was working on the atomic bomb; from there on to the Belgian Congo and then to contemporary, post-Fukushima Japan. However, Snake Dance, the new doc from Belgian filmmaker Manu Riche and English writer Patrick Marnham, draws some surprising and very provocative links between all these very different worlds.
As Snake Dance reveals, in1895, German art historian and anthropologist Aby Warburg had visited New Mexico. He became fascinated by the rituals of the Indians, who would dance with rattlesnakes to master the power of lightning.